United States District Court, C.D. California
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
J. STANDISH, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Pamela Sue Harris (“Plaintiff”) filed a complaint
seeking review of Defendant Commissioner of Social
Security's (“Commissioner”) denial of her
application for Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”). The parties filed consents to proceed
before the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge [Dkts.
11, 12] and briefs addressing disputed issues in the case
[Dkt. 22 (“Pltf.'s Br.”) and Dkt. 23
(“Def.'s Br.”), Dkt. 25 (“Pltf.'s
Reply).] The Court has taken the parties' briefing under
submission without oral argument. For the reasons set forth
below, the Court affirms the decision of the ALJ and orders
judgment entered accordingly.
ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION UNDER REVIEW
September 23, 2013, Plaintiff filed an application for DIB.
[Dkt. 15, Administrative Record (“AR”) 18,
148-149.] The Commissioner denied her initial claims for
benefits on January 27, 2014, and upon reconsideration on
April 10, 2014. [Id.] On February 17, 2016, a
hearing was held before Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) John W. Wojciechiwski. [AR 31-55.] On
March 16, 2016, the ALJ issued a decision denying
Plaintiff's request for benefits. [AR 17-31.] Plaintiff
requested review from the Appeals Council, which denied
review on December 12, 2016. [AR 1-7.]
the five-step sequential evaluation process, the ALJ found
that Plaintiff was not disabled. See 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1520(b)-(g)(1). At step one, the ALJ
concluded that Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial
gainful activity since November 3, 2011, the alleged onset
date, through September 30, 2013, her date last insured. [AR
20.] At step two, the ALJ found that Plaintiff suffered from
the following severe impairment: degenerative disc disease of
the lumbar spine. [Id. (citing 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1520(c)).] Next, the ALJ determined that
Plaintiff did not have an impairment or combination of
impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of
one of the listed impairments. [AR 21 (citing 20 C.F.R. Part
404, Subpart P, Appendix 1; 20 C.F.R. §§
404.1520(d), 404.1525, and 404.1526).]
found that Plaintiff had the following residual functional
[L]ight work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b)…
[s]pecifically, the claimant was able to lift and carry 20
pounds occasionally, 10 pounds frequently; could sit for 6
hours out of an 8 hour day, all normal breaks. She could
occasionally perform postural activities such as climb,
balance, stoop, kneel, crouch and crawl, but could never use
ladders, ropes, and scaffolds. She had to avoid concentrated
exposure to extreme heat, cold, vibrations, and industrial
[AR 22.] Applying this RFC, the ALJ found that
Plaintiff could perform past relevant work as a receptionist
(DOT 237.367-038), and, thus, is not disabled. [AR 25.]
42 U.S.C. § 405(g), the Court reviews the
Commissioner's decision to determine if: (1) the
Commissioner's findings are supported by substantial
evidence; and (2) the Commissioner used correct legal
standards. See Carmickle v. Comm'r Soc. Sec.
Admin., 533 F.3d 1155, 1159 (9th Cir. 2008); Hoopai
v. Astrue, 499 F.3d 1071, 1074 (9th Cir. 2007).
Substantial evidence is “such relevant evidence as a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S.
389, 401 (1971) (internal citation and quotations omitted);
see also Hoopai, 499 F.3d at 1074.
sole claim is that the ALJ improperly found Plaintiff's
testimony not fully credible. [Pltf.'s Br. at 3-13.]
testified that she was unable to work because of limits on
her ability to sit, stand, and walk. [AR 39.] When asked
about her ability to walk, Plaintiff replied that she was
unable to walk for more than a quarter of a mile and that she
experienced pain walking down her driveway. [AR 47.]
Plaintiff also testified that she could sit for five to
twenty minutes and stand for five to twenty minutes at a
time. [AR 48-49.] Plaintiff reported that her mother drives
her to the grocery store and helps her do the laundry. [AR
46.] Plaintiff makes her own ...